USA Basketball Menís U16 National Teamís Opponents Unveiled
-- U.S. To Face Argentina, Bahamas and Mexico In U16 Preliminary Round --
Colorado Springs, Colo. ē Feb. 13, 2013
FIBA Americas today held the draw to determine the preliminary-round groupings for the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men, and the U.S. was placed into Group A along with Argentina, Bahamas and Mexico. The tournament, which is scheduled to be held June 11-15 in Maldonado, Uruguay, is one of five zone qualifying tournaments for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, and the top four finishing teams from the FIBA Americas U16 Championship will advance to the 2014 U17 Worlds.
Rounding out the field and drawn into Group B were: Canada, Chile, Puerto Rico and host Uruguay.
The USA, two-time defending FIBA Americas U16 gold medalists, will open against Mexico on June 11, face two-time U16 silver medalist Argentina on June 12 and close preliminary play against Bahamas on June 13. The top two finishing teams in each group will advance to the June 14 medal semifinals, and the finals will be held June 15.
ďArgentina is always a tough, tough game for us,Ē said USA U16 head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who led the 2009 and 2011 USA U16 National Teams to gold medals and berths to the 2010 and 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships. ďWeíve met them many times over the past four years, and they always seem to play us really tough. Thatís going to be a tough match-up for us. Mexico is kind of an up-and-coming team. Theyíve done pretty well here in the last year or two and the Bahamas seems like they always have good guard play. I think both brackets will be one of those deals where you certainly canít play poorly and advance out of there. So, itíll be an interesting tournament from that standpoint.Ē
Unlike Canada and the USA, which receive the only two North American berths and Uruguay as the host, the remaining five nations must first qualify within their FIBA Americas zone. Puerto Rico (gold medalist), Mexico (silver medalist) and Bahamas (bronze medalist) qualified through the 2012 Centrobasket U15 Championship; and Argentina (gold medalist) and Chile (bronze medalist) qualified through the 2012 South American U15 Championship, which saw Uruguay claim the silver medal.
Members of the 2013-14 USA Developmental National Team, who will be announced later this spring, will train May 30 Ė June 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the final 12-player USA U16 National Team selection will be made prior to the team departing for Uruguay. Athletes must be 16-years-old or younger, born on or after Jan. 1, 1997, in order to be eligible to compete in the U16 tournament.
Traveling to Mendoza, Argentina, for the inaugural FIBA Americas U16 Championship in 2009, the U.S. squad, a team comprised of players who were 16-years-old or younger and featuring Brad Beal, Quinn Cook, Andre Drummond and James McAdoo, was flat out impressive. Scoring an average of 113.0 points a game, the USA team won its five games by an average of 33.8 points a game to claim the competitionís first gold medal.
The 2011 U.S. squad, which included Aaron Gordon, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Jabari Parker, was not much different, decimating opponents by an average margin of 42.2 points per contest en route to a perfect 5-0 mark and the gold medal.
In both 2009 and 2011 the U.S. defeated Argentina in the gold medal game, while Canada returned with the bronze medal in each U16 tournament.†